tv Morning Joe MSNBC May 18, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT
all that's happening, this is all we're doing and all we're discussing. that's not the case. i want the american people to know we're busy, hard at work fixing their problems. >> house speaker paul ryan says it's business as usual on capitol hill, but tell that to the markets. we just saw the biggest one-day drop since september over concerns that washington is grinding to a halt. as the trump white house works to get out of its own way, the president takes off tomorrow on what some would call a make-or-break trip overseas for meetings with dozens of world leaders. he'll leave behind a deepening federal investigation now led by a special counsel and growing signs that some republicans are beginning to lose patience with the president. good morning everyone. it's thursday, may 18th. welcome to "morning joe." with us columnist and associate editor of "the washington post" david ignatius.
john heilemann, senior political editor for the "huffington post," sam stein, national political correspondent for "the washington post" karen tim mull tea along with willie geist and mike barnicle in new york. so much has happened even in the past 24 hours, former fbi director robert mueller immediately takes over the justice department's investigation of russian interference in the 2016 campaign. he is now in charge of prosecutors and fbi agents in multiple field offices. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein made the appointment yesterday. rosenstein is overseeing the doj jeff sessions recused himself. nbc news was told the white house office was informed about the appointment of the special counsel after the order was find. >> stop right there. david ignatius, a lot of people have liked to say since january
20th, there's a new sheriff in town. when the white house is notified after the special counsel -- >> there really is a new sheriff in town. >> there really is a new sheriff in town. let's just say it. donald trump i believe day traded on a guy's stellar reputation over 27 years, a lot of men or women fold under those circumstances and do what the president says. rod rosenstein did not. he was not going to be anybody's patsy, and he made sure that no one -- i think he took the most dramatic step he could take to show that no one would ever say the justice department mishandled this investigation. >> he went from the seeming fall guy to the defender of our republic in this move. he insisted that the investigation of donald trump and any connections with russia must be independent. the charge is very specific from rosenstein, that mueller must ensure the public trust is
served by independence. he's speaking directly to the concerns raised by trump's attempt to fire fbi director comey, his meetings with comey to get him to drop the investigation of mike flynn and others. rosenstein has really demonstrated our precept -- this is a government of laws in the end. the laws have to be enforced by strong men and women and we saw rosenstein take that step. >> it sounds melodramatic. it's not. rod rosenstein, defender of our republic, ensurer of our system of checks and balances. before this appointment was made yesterday, there were a lot of questions about which direction we were going to go, a president that demanded loyalty oathing from his fbi director, a president who then fired that fbi director to not kill an investigation. this could have gone anyway,
most of them bad rosenstein proved churchill right again, that america always does the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities. >> we've been through quite a number. >> regardless of how this ends up -- and i'm one of these people that think probably there's going to be more in a coverup than the actual investigation at the end, however it ends up, i don't think you can overstate how importantis move was yesterday. >> a national deep breath after a day in which the financial markets finally registered the degree of anxiety about this chaotic situation in washington, sharp, shafrp fall in the dow, and then this announcement, carefully guarded at 6:00 that there was going to be somebody new running it. felt we suddenly were in a
different space. >> the president reacted, quote, as i have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know, there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. i look forward to this matter concluding quickly. in the meantime i will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter the most to the future of our country. that actually seems like a well-prepared statement. >> well done. >> kind of statement that would come from a normal president. >> will you please stop trying to normalize donald trump? reported in "the new york times" that jared kushner, the son-in-law we pushed him to hire michael flynn who pushed him to fire james comey is now the same jared kushner who was supposed to be the great leveling wind that was telling donald trump when he was being measured to fight back and be more combative. donald trump resisted those
calls. >> at least in this one instance. we'll see where we get to going forward. there was a big question -- we've been back and forth about this, you and i for the last week or so. the big question from the moment comey was fired, the big question was what rosenstein was going to do. it's an interesting question to know whether he would have ended up here had he not been treated the way he was treated in the days subsequent to comey's firing. at this point it was not only a matter of saving the constitutional republic, doing the right thing, making a very politically savvy move. in this polarized environment, very hard to find anyone who would find such bipartisan acceptance off the bat. he not only did the right thing, the smart thing politically, but also saved himself. if rod rosenstein had not done this, he would have been a character in history much different than the character he now is. >> much different. karen, we hear there are no more, quote, wise men in
washington as they called them in the '60s and '70s. >> sam is sitting right here. >> i'm here. >> the appointment yesterday proved that to be wrong. even republicans that came back pushing hard against this appointment said, but, we have complete and total confidence in the fbi director. >> absolutely, who became fbi director practal the eve of 9/11. i think one of the things that is most crucial here and might be getting overlooked a bit is how broad of a mandate he has been given. he has explicitly been told that he is to not only look into the questions of russia's meddling in the election, but also whether there has been obstruction of justice. at this point, no matter what donald trump says for all intents and purposes, given the news of the past week, he is under investigation.
>> sam stein, the one thing that i think republicans take comfort at that are supportive of donald trump who may have pushed back a little bit says, but mueller has nothing to prove. when i say nothing to prove, i mean nothing to prove. it's very unlikely he'll go in the direction of lawrence walsh. you weren't even born he was impacting the 1992 campaigns. >> i was born. >> but there is no that fear, that he's going to try to make his reputation on this investigation. he'll just go where the facts are. >> the only question, and i read conflicting accounts, is can he be fired by trump? i think the answer is yes. there is this cloud hanging over this appointment that i don't think this is something we should set aside. >> that would be fascinating. >> he does have a large purview, he has prosecutorial powers. i think this is good for trump
and i might be in the minority. they have been besieged by process questions about this investigation, never ending questions that hint at, why are you dragging your heels, is there a coverup going on here? presuming they have nothing to hide, a big presumption, they can say this thing is playing out under bob mueller. direct your questions to him. we've done what we've done. it's there and we'll wait to see what happens. maybe, just maybe they can move on to the actual act of governance which they have not been able to do in some time now. >> i think certainly between now and the midterm election willie geist, next year, this is good for donald trump. this is good for the whougs. this is good certainly for the press, the communications team at the white house because pretty soon there's going to be another round of stories exploding. but pretty soon mueller is going to zip it up and he's going to go into his office and start this investigation and there
aren't going to be leaks. >> the other thing to point out to people, this is going to take a while. this isn't something that's going to be resolved next week. it may not be years, but it will certainly be months. this will carry us through the summer of the investigation. we'll find out if we get information piecemeal, if mueller has to report to rosenstein. mike barnicle, united states marine corps bronze star purple heart. s. attorney, pros kated john gotti, manuel noriega and a guy pretty devoid of politics, brought on a week before 9/11, served his ten-year term and was asked by the obama administration to sign on for two more years after that. he doesn't bring politics. >> what adjectives, honorable, honest, integrity, tremendous loyalty by the people who work
for him, led a marine rps rifle team in vietnam after graduating from princeton. the points raised by joe and sam stein especially apply here. there will be no leaks, i can tell you from personal experience with him, knowing him for over 30 years, there will be no leaks out of this investigation. there will just be the hard-nosed plotting, timely, time consuming work of an investigation. >> this is a good time for this special counsel. there are new questions about who knew what and when about michael flynn's ties to foreign governments. "the new york times" reports this morning that flynn himself told the transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working for turkey as a paid lobbyist. the paper cites two people familiar with the case who say he informed white house counsel don mcgahn on january 4th. two days laters his lawyers apparently had another conversation with transition lawyers. a source familiar with
conversations two days after the election tells nbc news, michael flynn made it clear he wanted to be national security adviser and jared kushner and ivanka trump made it clear president-elect trump would certainly approve of that request to reward flynn's loyalty. despite this "new york times" report that the transition team had been made aware of flynn's ties to foreign governments, here is what the head of the transition team, mike pence, said two weeks later when the stories of flynn's ties to turkey first broke. >> michael flynn has filed with the department of justice as a foreign agent for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist essentiallfor turkey. your reaction to that, considering , doesn't that mean mr. vice president even if he didn't lie to you about what the russian ambassador said or didn't say, that you would have had to fire him anyway? >> well, let me say, hearing that story today was the first i heard of it.
i fully support the decision that president trump may ask for general flynn's resignation. >> was the president aware that michael flynn was acting as a foreign agent when he appointed him to be the national security adviser? >> i don't believe that that was known. i would refer you to general flynn and to the department of justice in terms of the filing that had been made. >> had the president have known that, would he have known that? >> i don't know. that's a hypothetical i'm not prepared to ask. i don't know what he discussed. i don't know any of that. >> the second one was less surprisi surprising. >> i guess we just have to say here that mike pence, the vice president of the united states was in charge of the transition team and donald trump wasn't doing end runs around mike
pence. questions will be made about mike pence expressing ignorance about when the transition team is told this, him not knowing. they obviously knew, and the flynn episode gets even worse with the story we're going to report pretty soon about this guy actually taking money to change u.s. policy regarding turkey. >> aspects of the flynn story that boggle the mind are how much was known and not acted upon by people. we now realize flynn himself who has been cast as the villain in most of this is the one who informed the transition team, hey, i've got this issue with turkey you need to be aware of. then you have pengs seemingly acting oblivious. the claim that the reason he was fired was he lied to mike pence seems more and more difficult to imagine. we never ask what did donald trump the president know. >> unfortunately a trend is
developing with mike pence who is part of the process to have this strategy to get rid of comey. he's in all the meetings. he knows that donald trump has already made the decision to fire him, and then mike pence goes to capitol hill and seven times, seven times repeats what turns out to be a lie which he had every reason to know based on the fact pattern in front of us, that it was a lie. same here. he headed the transition team and he was the active member of the transition team. donald trump -- this isn't one of those things because we were communicating with everybody at at time. donald trump wasn't just putting him there in name only. he was running the transition team. >> mike pence, by the way, is also present in the oval office in mid february, the day after mike flynn is fired when donald trump says to james comey i'd
like to have a word with you in private. >> which he never does. >> that's the greatest lapse of common sense at a critical moment for both the attorney general and the vice president, to see the president about to do something that is on its face improper and not to raise a warning sign. >> bad for pence either way. either he knew and is lying or didn't know and is wildly incompetent. either way, not a great story for him. i will say it seems the import of the story, michael flynn's lawyer came out a couple months ago and said michael flynn has a story to tell. he's now starting to tell it. if this is the thing he's leaking and there are other things he still is holding to offer in exchange for immunity, this means this isn't the worst of it. >> the biggest question for me, there are so many red flagtion around michael flynn, not just during the transition but prior to them with obama warning trump
tonight hire the guy. yet they stuck by him through all of this. >> the reason for that is that he has a bond with the president. >> really? >> i'm telling you what we were told, that he calms the president down, they're buddies, they have a bond that's really tight and he makes the president feel comfortable. >> i can tell you firsthand everybody on that transition team spoke of michael flynn as if he were dwight eisenhower on june 6th, 1944. he was the greatest guy, he was a calming influence. that was the one selection that donald trump and jared kushner would never be moved off of. they moved off of giuliani as secretary of state. >> there were efforts to move
him off flynn. wouldn't listen. >> i can tell you there were scores of people saying mr. president, do not appoint this man. it's the most important position, he's wildly unstable, it would be a terrible mistake. he and jared kushner heard that repeatedly every day and didn't give a damn. they were going to appoint this guy, david, no matter what. >> and why? it's because mike flynn was the first person from the foreign policy world to take donald trump seriously and give him the legitimacy that he craved and that, as we see today, he feels so desperately he lacks. >> mike barnicle and willie geist, you can say the same thing about the attorney general who has found himself in one me after another. he is there simply because he was the first senator to come out and support donald trump. >> it's loyalty above all else
to donald trump, right? when he asked james comey for his loyalty, we saw what eventually happened to comey. there's a story we'll get into that shows why this decision to make flynn the nsa despite what they knew about his ties to turkey had real world impact, and that flynn talked to susan rice ten days before the inauguration. they talked about going into raqqa with the kurds. flynn said hold off a second. why? perhaps because the turkish government didn't like the idea of the united states working with the kurds. this had real impact on american policy. >> the flynn appointment in the wake of the torrent of criticism for him even before the president is inaugurated is understandable. when you look back at the old clips of general flynn alongside then candidate trump, when you see general flynn at the convention shouting "lock her up" in unison with the crowd. it would be interesting to find out what chris christie thought
of general flynn prior in his initial, just brief appointment as head of a transition committee. that would be interesting. >> well, i don't think, if my memory serves me well, i don't think chris christie was anymore of a fan of general flynn than most everybody else. he had real concerns for t right reasons. it's interesting, also, we'll get to it with general flynn, but again, he gets paid $500,000 and actually influences policy on where u.s. coalition forces attack so as not to offend the turks. >> on every level it was an appointment that you just -- that flies in the face of any type of logic which makes you wonder if they had some motives. >> i was going to say, i also wonder and we'll talk about it later. i also wonder if taking payment
of $500,000 from a foreign government and then directly influencing -- using your position to directly influence u.s. policy, i wonder if that runs him afoul of another law. i would suspect it might. still to come. is there a kernel of truth in every joke. we'll talk about houmech mccart >> this wasn't a joke. if it were a joke, paul ryan wouldn't have said we're family he here, nobody repeats it. kevin mccarthy wouldn't say after the joke, i'm deadly serious. >> i thought it was a joke. >> he said guys, i'm deadly serious. >> they also denied it happened. >> that's what we call a tease. we don't tell the whole story.
we have just about everybody you'd want to hear from on a morning like this. >> we'll speak with the chairman of the armed services committee, senator john mccain, susan collins, senator chris murphy from the government oversight committee, congressman elijah cummings and one of the president's fiercist critics on capitol hill, congresswoman maxine waters. >> i think we have mr. happy here this morning. jeff is going to be here. >> he's not mr. happy. >> first, here is bill karins tracking more severe weather out there. bill, what have you got? >> unfortunately looks like tornadoes will make headlines later today. 27 million people at risk today, one of the rare days where we get a high risk of severe weather and tornadoes. that means we're pretty much guaranteeing a tornado outbreak will take place. area of greatest concern is here in kansas and oklahoma. wichita is the biggest city at risk later this afternoon. tomorrow, almost the same areas,
18 million more people at risk from kansas city down to the dallas-ft. worth area. we continue a very active week of severe storms. by far, today is the most dangerous. how about the heat pumping up the east coast. yesterday was hot. today it will be even hotter. 97 in tampa, should break your record. richmond near record highs at 92. up and down the i-95 corridor, boston, new york, philly, d.c. all expecting a high temperature today of 93 degrees which would break the record in central park. logan airport should break their record high. close in philly, d.c. probably a little shorted of that. we crash back towards spring this weekend. boston in the 60s, d.c. dropping into the 70s. today is the peak of our heat wave, our mini may heat wave. how about this? colorado, idaho, montana, this is what it looks like in bozeman, montana. denver, you're under a winter storm watch. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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sunday, may 21st eight seven central only on abc. t question is, as it has been all week, where are the republicans? well, they're hiding away from the cameras. >> we reached out to 20 republican senators and representatives to appear on this broadcast. all declined our invitation. >> we tried to get republicans on tonight, had a few lined up but they could not make it. >> i've called countless senators' offices. for one reason or another, they said they couldn't come out and talk with us. >> there are not republicans willing to go on camera tonight. on fox news can't get republicans to come on. that's like eve not being able to book a kardashian. >> "the washington post" reports the house majority leader kevin mccarthy said last year then
candidate donald trump could be receiving payments from russian president vladimir putin according to an audio recording obtained by the post from june of last year, mccarthy said to his fellow gop leaders, quote, there's two people i think putin pays, rohrabacher and trump, swear to god. paul ryan then says, this is an off the record, no leaks, right? it's worth noting that they report spokes people for both ryan and mccarthy denied the exchange taking place until being told there was a recording. mccarthy pushed back on the report noting the transcript of the audio repeatedly notes lauger. >> if you listen to it, everybody is laughing. you know it's a bad attempt at a joke. that's all there is to it. no one leaves it to be true. >> do you still have confidence in the president? >> 100 president. >> this was an attempt at rumor
gone wrong. "the washington post" tried to contort this into breaking news. a spokesman for ryan stated, quote, this entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. no one believed the majority leader was asserting that donald trump or any of our members were being paid by the russians. >> you've got to put it in context. i'm all for people telling jokes that go terribly awry. i do it every day. >> it's what you do. >> in this case you look at the facts surrounding it, just like you would with anything. first of all -- >> interesting joke do make. >> interesting joke to make when there's an investigation going on. secondly they denied it. >> it reveals something. >> then when they denied it and said it didn't exist. why would you like about a joke? and then when confronted with it they pulled back from their lie about the joke, and in the transcript after some laughter can be heard, as "the washington post" reports, kevin mccarthy
said no, no, swear to god. >> there's laughter and there's nervous laughter. the other thing about the context of this is what was going on in the world, in their world at that moment. a number of the leaders were coming directly from a meeting with the ukrainiian prime minister. word that the dnc servers had been hacked just came out. in fact, there was speculation in the tape that what they were going after was research against donald trump. that is when the conversation turns to russia. at several points in this, we have the speaker of the josing we've got to keep this in the family, ha-ha. it's kind of thing that, if there are a screenplay written with this in it, it would be rejected. and also i think it speaks to -- the fact that this tape is in
the possession of t"the washington post" suggests that somebody in that room didn't think it was a joke. >> willie geist, you look at the totality surrounding the events around it. they're talking the ukrainian leaders. this was also about the time that republicans were starting to talk about strip iping a pla in their platform in support of ukraine as a favor to the russians. that's certainly something the ukrainian leaders had to be made aware of and something they obviously discussed in that meeting. >> you have to take yourself back to the time, summer, june of 2016, about a year ago when the jokes were made. listening to the tape and reviewing the transcript, i think they were joking in the room, but against a serious backdrop of conversations about what was happening with donald trump, and the fact that that was even a possibility, that that was on the table, tells you something about the context within which the joke was made i
think. >> david? >> i don't know whether it was a joke or not. the point to me this morning is we now have a special counsel, robert mueller who will investigate this. he'll talk to kevin mccarthy, talk to paul ryan. he'll reconstruct exactly what they knew when they had this conversation. this is one of the things he's going to want to know the answer to. why were they talking about somebody paying donald trump. where did that come from? >> don't have to decide whether it was a joke because there's a special counsel whose job it is to do that. >> rohrabacher might as well wear the gold chain. >> you know what else makes this less funny to investigators is this, quote, joke, came out the same day that a bank in russia that vladimir putin was on the board with helped donald trump get money for one of his hotels.
>> i would say if it's humor, it's gallows humor. >> true. >> kevin mccarthy was the person who famously blurted out that the benghazi investigation was going on because it drove hillary clinton's poll numbers down. he has an unfortunate tendency to blurt out the truth sometimes in politically unfortunate ways. >> you guys don't get humor. >> thanks a lot, sam. millennial. >> coming up, senator chris murphy says if past is prologue, watch out. why he's worried attorney general jeff sessions won't give the special counsel the resources and latitude he needs. he joins the conversation next on "morning joe."
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that those in need or set groundbreaking precedent. in the end it is not only what we do but how we do it. as the saying goes, if you have integrity, there is nothing else that matters. if you don't have integrity, there is nothing else that matters. >> that was newly appointed special counsel over the russia investigation robert mueller back in 2013. joining us now, member of the foreign relations committee, democratic senator chris murphy of connecticut. great to have you here onset in washington. >> good morning. >> there are concerns perhaps that he might not be able to get the latitude to do his job. do you think mueller will have a problem with that? >> i think you have to think about whether past is prologue. to the extent he doesn't today have all the jurisdiction he needs and he has to go back to sessiontion or trump, then you should be worried. everything we know about his portfolio thus far gives us confidence he may be able to get to where the facts lead him. he exists on both sides of the ledger. he's going to be able to conduct
the investigation and have prosecutorial power. right now we understand he has the latitude necessary to start this investigation. the question is, if he starts to find new leads, if he starts to want to have a more expansive portfolio and has to go back to sessions or rosenstein to get that, whether that's going to be run up the chain -- >> doesn't that have to be proforma for those two gentlemen that have recused themselves from this investation? anything more than a rubber stamp from them cause a constitutional crisis. i don't mean to overstate it, but he has been given a blank check here for the most part, has he not? >> well, i don't know that he has because i think it's unclear to what extent jeff sessions has actually recused himself. we know he was involved in the decision to fire james comey. we believe comecomey's investigation -- >> which, by the way, caused a
crisis, part of a crisis that led to what happened yesterday. >> the good news here is there has been a question as to who deputy attorney general rosenstein is and whether he has the rule of law in his heart, he certainly answered a big piece of that question. to the extent you have questions about whether he would let the facts lead where they may, at least from what we know yesterday, he seems to understand the need to ultimately get to the truth. >> senator mike barnicle is in new york because it is sunny and he'll be in central park in a couple hours with the sunglasses on. he has a question for you now. >> my god. >> senator, your former colleague, senator lieberman sat down yesterday apparently and was one of four interviewed for potentially heading the fbi going forward. your thoughts on that possibility occurring? >> i hold senator lieberman's seat. he's no pushover as both parties know. he's been a pain in the butt to both republicans and democrats during his time in a out of
the senate. i think the qstion is whether you want someone with a political pedigree or someone that has a law enforcement pedigree. i think there's a lot of people on both sides of the aisle looking for someone that doesn't come from the political realm, somebody frankly in the tradition of mueller who has a real history in enforcing the law, not somebody who spent time in the partisan realm. so i know joe. he certainly is somebody who can stand up to folks in positions of high power, but ultimately, a lot of us may like to see rather someone who comes from law enforcement. >> senator, how do you figure it's going to work now going forward. you've got three senate committees at least, two house committees at least who all still want in on this trump-russia action. how do the lines get drawn so you guys get to do your work in terms of investigation without getting in the way of where the mueller probe might lead? >> i've been a skeptic from the beginning about the capacity of the senate and house
investigations, one because they've been operating in political fits and starts. those two committees are not investigative by nature. they're gathering gleaned by others. from the start it's been the fbi that has had primacy on this. i hope the fbi and mueller takes the lead here, and to the extent there are gaps that need to be filled in, perhaps the senate committees can do that. i never thoughthe senate committees were going to ultimately be able to get to the truth on their own. >> let me ask you a specific question now. is it still important for comey to go forward and testify in public? that might pose some conflicts in terms of what director mueller is going to be doing going forward? >> i think we have to understand there's a lot of important questions that are separate and aside from what mueller is going to be looking into. we need to understand what happened with respect to the conversations between donald trump and jim comey.
only comey can tell us that. absolutely comey has to testify in open session because we need to know whether there was this loyalty pledge, whether he was asked to move away from the flynn investigation. those are constitutional questions -- >> why do we need to know that when we have a special counsel who needs to know that? >> it's a question of what's under the special counsel's purview, right? if he's looking into the connections between the trump administration, the trump campaign and russia. that's a different set of questions than abuse of power or obstruction of justice. maybe that lies under his purview. we have a separate obligation of trying to get to the bottom of whether a law has been violated. we may need to move faster -- >> isn't there an argument that this almost lets the republicans off the hook? they can say whenever they're pressed on any of these issues, well, there's a special counsel? >> i think to some extent they can try that. we, again, have a separate constitutional responsibility to fi out if the chief executive
of thisountry violated the law. so we can still try to get to the bottom of that story while mueller is trying to unwind a potential criminal case against the president or some of his aides. those two things can happen simultaneously. certainly the fbi investigation ultimately will inform the decision we have to make. >> i've had a lot, mika, a lot of advice for republicans which none of them asked for. i actually in this case would say that that would be a wonderful thing to say. there is an investigation going on, a special counsel has been appointed by the administration and you need to direct your questions to him. not only would that be the politically wise thing to do, i think it would also be proper. and it allows them to constantly say that, pivot, move back to policy. >> does this put this, david ignatius, in a box enough for the president to go on this make-or-break trip and actually have the potential of pulling something off without a major
gaff, flub or misstep? >> we'll see if the rain cloud of these investigations and scandals follows him across the atlantic. to some extent it will. i'm sure journalists will keep asking questions. they worked pretty hard to set this trip up with some real deliverables when the president goes to saudi arabia. he, i believe, will be presented with a series of pretty interesting proposals, what they're calling nato for the arab gulf states, to ha a common defense platform. more important, an agreement to make it illegal for people living in these countries to give money to extremist groups. for years we've been saying why does saudis and bahrain anies give money to al qaeda and extremists? if what the white house says is coming really happens, it will be become illegal for private citizens -- >> the white house said from the
very beginning, you want our help, saudi arabia, you get our help when you outlaw what you've been doing for the past 30 years. >> exactly, joe. they're getting the kind of commitment they asked for. i think that will play well. i think they've worked hard to advance the trip, but the president is going to come back to the same set of issues no matter how good this trip goes. nixon would go away, he'd be president of the world. he did that great. they'd come back and there was stillwater gate. >> willie geist, there's a question of whether donald trump even wants to go on this trip. a lot of white house reporters saying he's dreading it. let's hope not for the sake of this country. >> it's important. he hasn't been out of the country yet. it's important he gets that started. i wanted to ask senator murphy one more question. obviously the questions around russia and the white house are critically important. it has been all-consuming. i have a friend who runs a vets organization says he's had his
meeting canceled and agenda pushed to the back burner because people are obsessed and focused on this. to what extent has is impeded ur ality and other senators' ability to g other things done in washington right now? >> speaking of the democratic caucus, we really haven't been part of the major policy discussions in the senate about tax reform or health care reform. my worry, frankly, this has been cloud cover for a process that has continued specifically on the issue of repealing the affordable care act. republicans have continued to meet to try to present a bill before the house that strips health care away from 24 million americans. that's been able to happen without a lot of public questions being asked because of all this concern and unfolding story about russia. there's really impactful things happening to my constituents that aren't getting the coverage they deserve. my worry is a week from now we get a bill dropped on the senate that nobody has talked about because the focus has been elsewhere. we're going to have to shift some of this back to domestic
policy because that agenda i don't think has stopped while this story has moved very quickly in the last few days. >> senator chris murphy, thank you very much for coming in. coming up, "time" magazine is giving the white house a fresh coat of paint, red paint. we'll reveal their new cover and they're not holding back. also ahead, senator john mccain guarantees another shoe will drop with donald trump. the outspoken arizona republican joins the discussion just ahead.
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hello? yeah. oh, for god sake. would it help if i said i'm too old for this [ bleep ]? okay. see you in an hour. bye. >> we're just getng started here on another big news morning. ahead, chairman of the armed services committee, senator john mccain, senator susan collins, congressman elijah cummings, congresswoman maxine waters, stephen hadley is here on set, host of "hardball" chris matthe matthews, and andrea mitchell all join the discussion. "morning joe" rolls on from washington straight after this. ...it starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions,
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♪ we know a place that's already working on it. ♪ the president was in connecticut today, to give a commencement speech at the u.s. coast guard academy. for once he didn't make it about himself. to his credit he put all that aside to place the focus on where it should be, the young graduates on their special day. >> look at the way i've been treated lately. especially by the media. thank you, everybody. great honor. good luck. eny your life. >> enjoy your life. was that a commencement speech or did he just break up with them? enjoy your life. >> very moving.
>> welcome back to -- >> churchillian. >> it really was. it's hard to joke at this point on this thursday, may 18th. with us here in washington, we have columnist and associate editor for "the washington post," david ignati suchlt. co-host of "the circus" on showtime, jon heilman. and happy jeffrey goldberg, he's like an emoji. a happy one. and former adviser to president george w. bush, and mike barnicle in new york. >> tell us about the man stepping in now and taking charge of this investigation. >> first of all, everyone on the set in washington, enjoy your life, please. >> okay, thank you. >> bob mueller is the definition of honesty, integrity, character, discipline. he instills great loyalty in everyone who has ever worked for him and who will ever work for
him. he was a second lieutenant in the marine corps in vietnam. where i first met him in 1983, '84, san francisco, washington, d.c. where he dropped down from the u.s. attorney's positioto run the homicide unit in washington out of the u.s. attorney's office. there will be no leaks under mr. mueller's investigation. i can tell you that from firsthand knowledge. no leaks. it will be plodding work that he will do. disciplined work that he can do. you could not have come up with a better candidate than robert mueller. >> he immediately takes over the justice department's investigation of russian interference in the 2016 campaign. now in charge of prosecutors and fbi agents in multiple field offices.
deputy attorney general rob rosenstein made the appointment yesterday, overseeing the doj's investigation after attorney general jeff sessions recused himself. justice department spokesperson told nbc news the white house counsel's office was informed of the appointment of a special counsel after the order was signed. president trump reacted in a statement reading, in part, quote, as i have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know, there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. i look forward to this matter concluding quickly. meantime, i will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country. >> jeffrey, how iortant is this move? >> really imrtant. >> talk about the significance. >> well, you know, it's hard to believe we're going to be doing this for the next, what is it, 1400 days?
mueller, ally of jim comey, rod rosenstein, proving his independence. his reputation was on the bubble a little bit. >> right. >> not on the bubble anymore. >> no, it is not. >> no, it's not. >> as bold a move as he could make to push back on being set up, trump tried to make him his patsy. >> to put it in sort of blunt -- this is i'm not going to be your sucker anymore and i'm going to go out and find the guy who is, to use this term, unimpeachable, his reputation. very few people with that reputation like mueller in washington right now. we're in it. whether there's still a real thing here, we're in the sort of, is it a crime or a cover-up situation? >> steven hadley, does this bring order to this situation, at least short-term order to the situation so the president and his team can actually, if they so choose, focus on important trips abroad? >> yes and no.
it certainly brings order to it and regular order to it. mueller is a regular order guy. he is a by the book kind of guy. very reassuring to the public. very reassuring to public rks, democrats. we're kind of back in regular and sensible order in dealing with the investigation. but this is going to be a distraction that is going to go on and on and on. >> yeah. >> and that is the cost. it is a distraction from an agen agenda that the american people elected donald trump to pursue. regular order but ongoing distraction. >> i was talking to somebody in the white house yesterday who said the foreign trip will take the focus away from this. no, these things follow you wherever you go. this is it. these are the first question force a long time. >> the foreign trip is crucial, though, that the point. >> i don't understand the foreign trip. that's a separate subject. i'm not sure why they're doing
this. you could fly to the vatican, jerusalem, intercede with god any way you want. the questions in the press pool -- >> so cynical. >> no. >> i understand the foreign trip. >> washingtonian. >> crush yourself when you say that. >> stop. >> that will be unusual. >> that would be unusual. >> all right, you two. >> let's talk about the personal distraction of this, too. if you're in the white house, if you work closely with donald trump, if you've been involved in any of these decisions, if you were involved in his presidential campaign, the only prudent thing to do right now -- >> order up. >> -- is to seek legal counsel. nobody is being glib here. i tweeted it yesterday afternoon. people thought i was being glib or trying to stick it to him. no. they need to get lal counsel. that complicates -- that clouds the mind a bit, doesn't it? >> anybody who has covered washington for any period of time in past administrations knows people, sources, friends that have dealt with this
situation and incurred ruinous legal bills, embroiled in these things for years. republican, democrat alike, the reagan administration had two independent counsels. bill clinton had one that last aid large part of his administration. george w. bush had one. everybody gets touched by this. and it becomes you're in legal jeopardy, political jeopardy, career jeopardy. and it become ace huge distraction going forward. in the short run, i think the point you made earlier is right. in the short run, mueller is a good thing for the trump administration. it allows them to focus on the agenda. in the long run, could be terrible. mueller, beyond everything else everybody said here about being unimpeachable, being fearless, having nothing to prove, having nothing to lose. most of all, he is a career prosecutor, focused on making cases. that is what he has done his whole life. and that is a huge threat to donald trump. >> so you have mueller.
and who is standing next to mueller? >> rod rosenstein. >> a guy who appointed mueller. suddenly the guy that they set up as the fall guy, as the patsy, suddenly he and mueller together -- >> his stellar reputation is speaking for himself. >> frightening front for donald trump. >> number of layers, especially around general flynn. willie geist, take it. >> joe in a time when there are so many questions about the president trying to exercise undue influence in the people investigating him, like jim comey, this will not be something that mueller will be susceptible to. roberto gonzalez and andy card about that famous scene at the bedside of attorney general john ashcroft when they try to get him to sign off on wireless tapping, it was comey and mueller who intervened at that point. let's talk about who knew what and when about general michael
flynn's ties to foreign governments. flynn himself told the transition team weeks before the inauguration he was under federal investigation for secretly working for turkey as a paid lobbyist. the paper cites two people familiar with the case, saying he informed white house counsel don mcgahn. a source familiar with conversations two days after the election tells nbc news that michael flynn made it clear he wanted to be national security adviser and jared kushner and ivanka trump made it clear that president-elect trump certainly would approve that request to reward flynn's loyalty. the transition team had been made aware of flynn's ties to foreign governments. here is what the head of the trump transition team, now vice president mike pence, said weeks later when flynn's ties to turkey were made public. >> michael flynn has filed with the department of justice as a
foreign agent, for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist essentially for turkey. your reaction to that, considering that, doesn't that mean, mr. vice president, even if he didn't lie to you about what the russian ambassador said or didn't say, that you would have had to fire him anyway? >> let me say hearing that story today was the first i heard of it. and i fully support the decision that president trump made to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> you're disappointed by the story? >> first i heard of it. it is an affirmation of the president's decision to ask general flynn to resign. >> so, what were the implications of having michael flynn and his ties to turkey near the white house? mcclatchey is raising the question. ten days before donald trump was sworn in as president, flynn
reportedly told susan rice to hold off on a plan for u.s. forces to retake isis' capital of raqqa. working nand hand with syrian forces, which turkey opposed. said the plan likely would be executed once trump was in offi. the presidt did eventually approve the raqqa plan but not until weeks after flynn was gone. one of the things reportedly raised alarm bells in the justice department early on, in support of turkey on election day and called for the extradition of a cleric living in pennsylvania. on november 8th, election day he wrote, in part, it is fair to say most americans don't know exactly what to make of our ally, turkey, these days, as it endure ace prolonged political crisis that challenges its long-term stability. we must begin with understanding that turkey is vital to u.s. interests. turkey is really our strongest ally against isis as well as a source of stability in the region. the justice department notified him they were looking into his
lobbying work. joe, you put all these pieces together. he was being paid more than half a million dollars by turkish-run company and making decisions and talking to susan rice based on his influence with turkey. >> getting paid. >> looks like it. >>s an incoming national security adviser and influencing policy. david ignatius, the recklessness is breathtaking, coming from a man, it is hard to believe, but we all remember him as a man who once had a stellar reputation in his field. >> outstanding general. >> national security adviser. >> tactical intelligence. one of the people who drove our joint special operations forces. i found in that last package of footage the most troubling part that involving vice president pence. >> yes. >> first i knew of this. now, wait a minute. we just learned that mike flynn himself and his attorney, before the inauguration, when mike
pence was head of the transition, informed the transition team about precisely these turkish matters. what do you mean it's the first thing you heard about it? i didn't get that at all. as i listened to all this stuff, i say i come back to something steve hadley and i have talked about. and that is, 40% of the country thinks that this is their president and that attempts to go after him are trying to delegitimize him, hijack their votes. steve, i'm curious whether you think this new process, headed by bob mueller, upright lawyer, will calm the 40% so they don't think their country is being taken away from them. >> i think it will help. but in some sense, it will depend on where the facts go and what we learn and what he learns in that investigation. second of all, i think the white house and the president needs to look at the white house staff and the white house structure, which does not appear to be
serving him well. he's responsible for it. i think he's going to have to make some changes again if he wants to reset his presidency and begin to start putting this behind him, even while the investigation goes on. look, there are reasons why -- and everybody knew that turkey was concerned about working with the pyd, ypg, about clearing raqqa. there are good reasons to want to look at that very closely. that said, general flynn put himself in a real -- at least appearance of conflict, and maybe actuality of conflict. and it's very troubling. >> i don't know if this question is too simplistic, but as a former national security adviser, i just wonder what you think of the hiring of general flynn under all of these circumstances, many of which were known and with repeated, desperate warnings not to do it, that this president would move
forward and make this pick, what does that tell you? >> looking in the rear view mirror, i don't think anybody would say, given what is on the table now, that this is an appointment that should have been made. >> but nobody was saying it then. >> but in real time -- >> in real time, that was being said. >> donald trump did not win by listening to conventional wisdom. conventional wisdom was telling him don't hire general flynn. he was loyal to him and he loves loyalty. >> this was the perfect example, also, of the people around him being so scared of him, they reinforce all of his pre-existing beliefs. >> that's what's going to have to change. >> that does have to change. he's going to have to get to other people around him that aren't scared of him. only if he wants his presidency to survive. i'm sorry we have to follow up with mike pence again. >> okay. >> because, you're right. i saw all the information. i think who knows, maybe flynn, what he did was treasonous.
we can talk about that. but i want to talk about mike pence. a pattern is clearly emerging. we saw it last week with the deputy attorney general. he goes to capitol hill seven times and says, he was fired because of the deputy attorney general. >> stellar career. had to listen to him. >> had to listen to him. we had no choice. said it seven times. jeffrey, he was in the meetings with donald trump when donald trump said i want to fire the guy. i don't care. let's bring -- >> meetings in january. don't forget, they talked about firing him the first week they were in office and decided not to and pence was central to those. >> what's he going to have to do -- >> you have that. then you have, of course, what happened here, where he's claiming he did not know that flynn -- with bret baier, he
said this is the first i've heard of it. >> i go back with david, there's a pattern here. >> seems impossible. >> anything is possible in this administration. but, yes, it seems impossible. now to this. >> can i goo jon heilman? >> okay. >> he has a furrowed brow. >> thank you for picking on his facial expressions. >> exactly. >> you just wonder whether -- let's look at it. mike pence appears to have been compromised by donald trump, day traded, thrown under the bus. you had it with rod rosenstein, who pushed back and saved his reputation forever in this city, validated what everybody thought about him for 27 years. and you also have general mcmaster, who a guy that we all have, i think, the greatest respect for. really embarrass himself a
couple of days ago, going out and trying to put up a smoke screen for a president who clearly created an egregious breach of security. >> to wrap up a couple of different topics here, steve hadley talking about the notion, and others talking about the notion of how donald trump's white house has to change. a lot of these people who come in with sterling reputations, their reputations are now in jeopardy because of the way they're treated by the white house, the way donald trump seems to affect them. what kind of person wants to go into this white house under these circumstances and is there any evidence -- >> anti-car wash. >> right. take your car and it comes out muddier. and what kind of person wants to go in? is there any evidence that suggests donald trump would ever be open to the kind of change that people think a necessary? >> i think he's in a desperate situation. >> he's ready for change.
>> you're being sarcastic. >> a little sarcastic. >> i noticed because a little smile started. >> let's not get too carried away. on mcmaster, what mcmaster basically said is what everybody knows. the president of the united states gets good intelligence that would be useful in trying to move an ally or adversary in the direction of u.s. policy. it comes up all the time. and the white house says the intelligence community we want to use this information with country x. and the intelligence community says sources and methods. and policy folks say screen it for sources and methods but what's the point of collecting the intelligence if we can't divulge it? this comes up all the time. >> but in this case, donald trump exposed, reportedly, our greatest asset. israel's greatest asset inside isis. did he it without a second thought and the only defense from general mcmaster was basically he's too stupid to know what he did.
>> no. what he said was, and what the president said, he has the right to do so. and the president does. >> and the president doesn't even know what he was doing. >> the question the wisdom of it and all the circumstances surrounding it. and we don't know the se circumstances. i suspect the amount of leaking going on in this administration is unprecedented. >> iant neral mcmaster to work as much a anyby, but he went out and said "the washington post" story was fault. >> and i think he he recognized that's a mistake, probably one of the reasons he came out and made the full confession he did. >> mike barnicle? >> ooh. >> joe, everything we've been talking about this morning is of critical import to the country and the role that the united states plays in the world. but david ignatius pointing to something almost equally as
important that's bubbling right beneath the surface. that is the 40% of the people in this country who believe, still, in donald trump. and going forward, this investigation and our attitude toward it, and our commenting on it ought to take more into consideration of what these people are going to feel if they do end up feeling that their vote and their feelings, their resentments, their hopes, whatever about the country have been stripped from them. >> mike, i think the media -- i can only speak for myself. i think we're going to be able to cover this in a more balanced, nuanced way that doesn't send the impression that we are going after donald trump when, in fact, a lot of us were frightened that the constitutional framework that has carry this had country forward for almost 240 years was under attack. it is not now. rod rosenstein, what he did yesterday -- i go back to what
david ignatius said at the top of the show. he provided an extraordinary service and actually allows us to sit back a littl bit more and know there's not going to be a cover-up. they're not going to push that to the side and they're going to talk, i do think, of a very extraordinarily important trip because right now there's turmoil. our relationship with israel. and we have an historic opportunity with the sunni arab world. this trip matters. >> it's really important to pay attention to. this week, the antibodies in our system still work, there's a muscle tone in our democracy, as people did a smart thing and we now have an institution that i
hope the country, as a whole, says okay. there's this special counsel investigating and we're going to let that process run. i hope so. because if you have 40% of the country that thinks we're being delegitimized, you have a problem. >> thank you both. great to see you again. >> every 12 hours. still ahead on "morning j " joe," the top house democrat on financial services, congresswoman maxine waters and deposit democrat on the oversight committee, congressman elijah cummings. first, senator susan collins joins the table. we're back in just a moment. i wanted to know who i am and where i came from. i did my ancestrydna and i couldn't wait to get my pie chart. the most shocking result was that i'm 26% native american. i had no idea.
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senator susan collins of maine. very good to have you on board this morning. >> thank you. great to have you here in washington. >> great to be here. senator, obviously, the big news is a special counsel. what's your take on it? how important is that move? >> it is important. if you look at the justice department regulations, i think it's clear that the deputy attorney general made the right call. >> right. >> one of the criteria is whether or not it would be in the public interest. gin allhat's gone on, how could you conclude otherwise? >> what's been your biggest concern over the past week, week and a half of turmoil out of the white house? >> well, it's the steady, drip, drip, drip of stories and allegations. and i worry that the allegations and the speculation are getting ahead of the facts. >> uh-huh. >> we have a lot of anonymous sources.
we have a memo that no one has seen but it's been read from. >> right. >> and that's why we need the special counsel to take care of the criminal aspects but we also need the senate intelligence committee to continue its investigation. >> it feels like there's a real hunger, desire and need, necessity for answers at this point because i would say, with all due respect, that it's not just drip, drip, drip. it is explosion after explosion at this point with -- without a communications team that can really handle whatever the truth is. it seems so unprecedented in so many ways. >> it is unprecedented. and it gives the appearance of just total chaos. and that interferes with the ability to work on really important issues, like health care. >> i was going to say, how difficult does that make your job, to work on issues like
health care, tax reform, regulatory reform? all the sort of things that need to be worked on. >> it makes it extremely difficult because, first of all, we don't have an administration giving guidance on what they would like to see, other than very sketchy outlines. you don't have the predent using his bully pulpit. and there's a sense of drift and distraction. and that's not good. >> you mentioned to me in the green room that you were here in 1974 as an intern during the height of watergate. >> whoa! >> you're aging me. >> i was hesitant to ask the question but didn't want to be rude. i'm wondering if you can talk about if you feel parallels, a bit of deja vu or if you can
compare these historical moments. >> both are very important to our country but they feel very different to me. keep in mind, it was a 20-year-old intern. >> fair enough. >> i was working for the freshman congressman, bill cohen, who broke with his party and supported the articles of impeachment as a member of the house judiciary committee. it was a very exciting time for me to be here. i saw the member for whom i was working standing tall for what he believed in and opposing the president of his own party. >> in terms of an administration that is just completely deluged with scandal, controversy sbun able to push an agenda and you see the walls caving in, do you see anyaralls here? >> where i see a difrence -- granted my perspect is different than that 20-year-old intern. >> sure. >> in 1974 it seemed we were
still proceeding with the business of the country. >> sure. >> here, it feels like everything is up in the air, everything is chaotic and there's a lack of leadership coming from the white house. that's what seems different. people forget that richard nixon, for example, created the epa and there were all these accomplishments that occurred nonetheless. i'm not saying that watergate hearings in the senate and then the impeachment proceedings in the house didn't freeze the action at times, but it wasn't like this. >> no, it wasn't. >> opened china couple of years before, he was playing three dimensional chess on the world stage, trying to bring vietnam to an end. >> nixon continued to be an active aggressive president almost until the end. to that point, senator, part of
your job as a member of the senate intelligence committee is to oversee our intelligence committees. i'm curious about two things. have you sensed a demoralization concern in these agencies as these events have unfolded, firing of director comey, criticism of the cia? first, have they been worried? second, do you sense they were relieved by the appointment of robert mueller, well known to the intelligence service community? >> i think everybody is relieved, whether openly or secretly, that robert mueller has been appointedment many of us know him, have worked with him. we know him to be the ideal choice for this job. he's not going to have to take time to get up to speed. he has established relationships with the fbi agents. he knows the process. and he's a person who is above
reproach. so that's exactly the kind of person that we need. the issue of moral and intelligence agencies is of concern to me. these are hardworking professionals, however. they're going to keep going forward. i talked to rank and file members of the fbi as well as other intelligence agencies, more traditional intelligence agencies. and they just keep going with their work. >> jon heilmann? >> you've now got director mueller, who has his independent broeb going, bunch of committees on the hill investigating these matters. everyone wants jim comey to come to the hill and testify in open session. if mueller says no, i want to keep comey under wraps because it's part of my investigation, do you defer to mueller or do
you have comey testify? >> i would like him to testify before the senate intelligence committee as soon as possible, before we go out for recess, next week. i think it's important. our investigation is broader. that's what's been missed. people ask, why do we need a special counsel and the senate intelligence committee investigation? and the answer is that we have two very different missions. the special counsel will focus on whether or not criminal charges are appropriate. we're focused on counterintelligence policy. and we can impose sanctions on russia. the special counsel can't impose sanctions on russia. so we still have an extremely important role to play. i hope we can resolve those
conflicts. any prosecutor investigator is going to say i don't want any witness coming before the senate. but i think we can tailor this so that perhaps certain subjects would be off limit but our investigation is really important because it is -- it will be be in public. his won't. and we need a far broader set of the facts to come out. >> senator susan collins, thank you very much. >> thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you. >> sorry about sam stein trying to make you feel old. >> what did i do? it's an historical and important question. >> sam's so young, his first historical memory was like britney spears debut of the mtv awards. >> with the snake. >> it was formative. is it a harder fight now in syria that -- senator john mccain joins us ahead with new
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over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. you will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted. but you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. look at the way i've been treated lately, especially by the media. no politician in history -- and i say this with great surety -- has been treated worse or more unfairly. you can't let them get you down. you can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams. i guess that's why i -- thank you. i guess that's why we won.
>> the president, yesterday, speaking at the commencement for the coast guard. we noticed it's not the first time he has intersected personal politics into a speech at places where people normally keep the politics out. >> this week, our republican team had its own victory under the radar, in our new budget. we've ended years of painful cuts to our military and just achieved a $21 billion increase in defense spending. we didn't do any touting like the democrats did, by the way. >> as you know, i have a running war with the media. they are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. they sort of made it sound like i had a feud with the intelligence community. and i just want to let you know, the reason you're number one
stop is exactly the opposite. exactly. and they underand that, too. when i ran for president, i had to leave the show. that's when i knew for sure i was doing it. and they hired a big, big movie star, arnold schwarzenegger, to take my place. and we know how that turned out. the ratings went right down the tubes. it's been a total disaster and mark will never, ever bet against trump again. and i just want to pray for arnold, if we can. >> sam stein? >> what is there to say? he seems incapable of not making it about himself. i would argue there are presidents who were treated a bit more unfairly. lincoln on the list. reagan was shot. >> just a smidge. >> the white house was burnt down under madison. still ahead on "morning joe," the always outspoken congresswoman maxine waters
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impeccable credentials, storied history, ten years leading the fbi in both the bush and the obama administration. it couldn't be a better choice. he is at the latter part of his career, has nothing to prove. i think he'll do a fabulous job. >> chairman of the house oversight committee, congressman jason chaffetz, speaking with the "today" show moments ago on the appointment of robert mueller as special counsel on the russian probe. joining us now, congresswoman maxine waters. we're very excited to have you here. >> delighted. >> where do you think this goes from here? >> well, i have hope with the appointment of special counsel mueller. and i think we're going to learn a lot. some people are concerned about all of the different investigations going on. let them all go at it, because
there's plenty to discover. and i believe when we get the subpoenas and we get the special counsel at work, doing the real digging into whether or not there was collusion, and the other committees are, you know, try i trying to snap certain backs, we're going to learn a lot about the connections between this president, his allies and the kremlin. and it's going to be very revealing. and i know a lot of people don't like to hear the word impeachment, but i believe it's going to lead right to impeachment. you know people don't like to hear the word impeachment. but we know you like saying it. jon? >> you've become like one of the leading figures in singing that song. >> yes. >> for people focused on this -- there are people who think like you do, that impeachment should be on the table or this is where we're headed. the concern about mueller is
that there are two ieshs. one is collusion. >> that's right. >> the other is obstruction of justice. that mueller's probe will push toward collusion, which is harder to prove, will take much longer whereas the obstruction is clearer. do you think he will push for the harder thing to show than the easier? >> no, i'm not worried about that. obstruction is clearer, based on what we saw unfold before our very eyes. i started out on this with collusion. i absolutely believe it's a lot easier to prove than many people think. when you take a look at the work of mannefort, it's going to be easy to identify e-mails, travel and all that goes along with -- >> bank record. >> bank records, absolutely. i think he has been involved in money laundering.
when you take a look at not only flynn and mannefort but carter page, there's a lot there. it's bee going on for a long time. >> so you have fel very happy that the comey memo came out. but you also said that he doesn't have credibility. >> yes, i did. >> which is it, though in this case? >> you have to look at this in relationship to what's unfoldin unfolding. >> 11 days out before the campaign, i didn't think that was credible. when he has been documenting his conversations with the president of the united states, he has memos. he showed them to other people so that they can verify that these memos were timely. then i think we want to see that and i think that is extremely important to this investigation, or these investigations.
>> multiple. >> i'm yes. >> and then you have a referral of facts. >> that's right. >> unindicted co-conspirators that go to the house impeachment committee that's formed. >> yes. >> the republicans control the house now. >> that's right. >> and they control it by a substantial majority. >> yes. >> realistically, are we talking about any possibility of impeachment debates, seriously, coming in 2018, after this new congress? or do you think this should be an issue in the 2018 midterms, that that's what democrats should run on? >> well, i think it's an issue now, and i think that the republicans who have been cautious, many of whom are worried, but not ready to step forward, recognizing that they have to be concerned about their
re-elections, et cetera. they won't be able to stand with this president when we unfold his connection to the kremlin and what they were involved in, which we, and i, consider to be collusion. i think it's going to be borne out, and i don't think that any republican, even, you know, moderates or conservatives, who love america and who consider themselves patriots, they cannot stand with this president when it appears he has participated in undermyroning this democracy. they're going to have to fall. that's what i believe. >> you keep mentions collusion. >> yes. >> i want to define what you mean by collusion, because what you're talking about seems more circumstanc circumstantial to me. bank records, and who knows why flynn was talking to the russian ambassador. could have been, seems to have been, about sanctions. collusion is specific. meaning the russian government
or actors within were trying to
elect donald trump. i want to know what collusion means to you, that seems to be the standard by which you think he should be impeached? >> absolutely. i am talking about strategies that were developed working with the trump campaign. i really do believe that much of what you saw coming out of trump's mouth was a play from putin's playbook. i think that when you saw him absolutely calling hillary crooked, the, "locker up, lock her up" was developed. i think that was developed strategically with people from the kremlin, with putin, and i think it's more than bank records. i think that you can see visits you know, to moscow were made during the campaign by
manafort and others. i think it's a lot more absolute than just following -- >> and you think they developed the talking pnts for the trump campaign? >> i think there was a cooperation in developing strategy about how they could
ensure that hillary clinton was not elected. they need trump. trump will be there to support lifting those sanctions. that's what they really want to happen. they want to drill in the arctic. tillerson that negotiated a multibillion dollar deal with exxon to do that drilling. they can't get the equipment, the supplies, and all that they need until the sanctions of lifted. they want trump, not only will he support lifting those sanctions, he also will turn a blind eye to the expansion that putin is trying to do. he does not care about them having invading crimea and does not care whether or not this egotistical maniac putin is attempting to reunite the whole soviet union. >> to be clear, there's no actual evidence yet. >> no, it has not been. no, it has not, and i want you to know, every time i talked about impeachment, i've says we've got to connect the dots,
get-of-do the investigation, that is what leads to impeachment and i also said that trump will lead us right there. >> we'll leave it right there, too. maxine waters, double back next time. thank you very much. >> you're so welcome. >> so great to see you. >> thank you. we've been at it for two hours and only scratched the surface on all of these stories. the president tweeting just now, "this is the single greatest witch-hunt of a politician in american history." maxine -- your reaction? >> well, you know, we find that trump can justify anything, but, he'll tell you one thing today and change it tomorrow. i'm not even focused on what he's talking about anymore. he has to understand that, you know, it is beginning to unfold. i have hope. i just hope that he's not so crazy that he'll try to fire mueller. >> well, that would be fascinating. >> well, you talk about -- impeachment, but what's so interesting about the appointment of mueller is
tweets, statements from the white house, firings. all suddenly become strangely irrelevant and become background floiz to the man who is now going to be sitting at justice, with his head down, just getting the facts. bob mueller -- >> bob mueller does not look like a witchhunter. >> and nobody on either side of the aisle will believe that, so, again when donald trump tweets something like that, he only further damages his own credibility. >> he doesn't understand the scope of this. >> he does not understand it, and he doesn't understand the game he's playing right now and he doesn't understand washington, and he still doesn't have anybody around him in the white house who understands -- >> take the phone away. just ahead, the chairman of the armed services committee republican senator john mccain joins us at the top of the hour. plus chris matthews and andrea mitchell join in the
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snis a big week with all networks introducing new shows. one caught my eye. take a look at this. >> it's a brand new show all about the white house. it's time for -- >> "who's getting fired". >> will it be reince priebus? steve bannon or sean spicer? or the person most responsible for all of their problems --
donald trump? "who's getting fired?" hosted by ryan seacrest. >> seacrest, again. >> that guy does many things. he's very busy. i didn't know he would go into this realm. >> well, he's everywhere. >> by the way, maybe only a couple of weeks. back from the trip, everybody's gone. >> welcome back to "morning joe." it's thursday, may 18th. here in washington, columnist and associate editor for the "washington post" david ignatius, and joh h hyman and swas jeremy peters. >> what's happening on capitol hill. republicans shoulder to shoulder. you reported there wasn't a lot of space between trump and then deliberately. they knew they would hunker down. a lot's changed in the week,
including a new hashtag/meme. >> right. a lot of #readyforpence, i'm told, floating around some republicans. >> i don't know. >> look, let's not get too ahead of ourselves here. when you start talking about impeachment and removal from office you forget that the 535 players in the congress are not the only ones to consider. there's a reason members of congress were so reluctant to distance themselves from donald trump after he did so many appalling and shocking and outrageous things during the campaign. because he has a constituency. it's still around 40% of the country and remains very, very popular in a lot of these house districts and at this point talking about pulling the trigger on any type of impeachment proceeding seems outrageously premature. >> usually poll numbers this early to an administration do not matter, but when you have a president actually fighting to keep his head above water a real
clear politics average, below 40% for the first time. down 38%, 39% in a lot of polls. 35%, 34%, you do have republicans start breaking. the only reason most are still there is because he still is strong among their base. >> well, yeah, usually poll numbers at this point don't matter because they're high. the honeymoon is -- no matter who you are, you come in and the country rallies behind you, because even people who voted against you want the country to succeed and you ride in the mid-50s and 60s the first 100 days no matter what you've done. this is an unusual circumstance. the other day talking the over/under. where the trump base erodes enough that members of congress say, okay, like -- you thought it was about 35% or so. >> 35% but -- >> major right wing -- >> two other things here. >> and also, sam, it's not just trump's 35%. if i were in congress, and if i
were in a district that weren't like a 70/30 district and saw the congressional ballot test having the republicans minus 16, we've all seen waves coming. we've never seen anything like this. >> this is his story -- >> two things i keep coming back to. >> one is, he has yet to deal with a crisis that hasn't been self-inflicted. >> exactly. stunning. >> and you just don't go through a year of the presidency without some external event challenging you in ways that a katrina, or a bp oil spill or ebola or zika have challenged presidents in the past. every indicatio from thi white house, they are totally ill-prepared to deal with that, in part because they're chaotic and haven't filled a lot of the deputy roles that matter. the other thing i come back to, you start to see data points that suggests that economic confidence is dipping. optimistic and now the stock market had a very bad day yesterday.
i think those are spaces we need to watch closer. >> the dow collapsing almost 400 points yesterday. the worst day in about six months, and analysts linked it directly to the chaos inside the white house. >> so do we have john mccain? all right. let's go right to senator john mccain. standing by right now. good to have you on the show, sir. you have talked about this being a watergate size and scale scandal, but with former fbi director robert mueller taking over the investigation of the russia questions, is there any hope that, perhaps, the questions, at least, can be contained so that the government can function properly? >> well, i hope so. first of all, can i say congratulations to you and joe, and i'm really pleased joe has found someone that loves him as much as he does. i'm very pleased. >> thank you so much, senator john mccain from washington.
>> easily proving once again -- >> i'm not sure as much -- but, anyhow -- >> everybody, yes, yes. >> now, senator. >> oh, god. okay. >> you stuck it in my side. moving on to business at usual. making me nervous. that's good. so you talked about watergate-size and scale -- >> uh-oh. he's gotmore. >> here we go. >> joe, can i mention one thing really quick and i know you already mentioned it, but i'm still outraged that this turkish, that we should throw their ambassador the hell out of the united states of america. this is -- this is the united states of america. this isn't turkey, this isn't third-world country, and -- this kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically, and maybe in other ways. maybe bring lawsuits -- we can identify these people. now that i've got that off my chest -- >> senator, thank you -- >> i wanted to ask you, though. and these are thugs linked
directly to erdogan and -- tell me what should the white house do at this point in condemning it and what can you all do in the senate? >> first of all, as i say, i'd throw the ambassador out. and these are not just average people at this. this is erdogan's security detail. somebody told them to go out there and beat up on these peaceful -- on these peaceful demonstrators, and i think it should have repercussions including identifying these people and bringing charges against them. after all, they violated american laws in the united states of america. you cannot have that happen in the united states of america. people have the right in our country to peacefully demonstrate, and they were peacefully demonstrating. >> yh. you look at the tape. it was certainly, tip our hat to the d.c. police. >> what is the white house
doing? what is the response? is there anything even remotely -- >> the state department said they were looking into it. >> well, a strong -- >> a statement of criticism. >> we're concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and turkish security personnel tuesday evening, is what was said. senator john mccain, let's go ahead and move back and we'll ask it again. you've stated that what's unfolded this past week is wa r watergate size and scale, and while we're talking about turkey, we might as well throw on the fire, of course, the national security adviser michael flynn getting paid over half a million dollars, and changing u.s. policy -- changing a war strategy -- to help the client state that paid him half a million dollars. >> what i was saying when i was describing that is that this is the classic scandal in the
nature that there's another shoe that drops every day or two, as you noticed again this morning, there was more contacts between the white house -- the trump campaign and, and the russians, than previously disclosed. this is the drip system, and that's why it's good to have mueller doing what he's doing, and it's important for the congress of the united states to do what they're supposed to do, which are two different missions, as you know one is, mueller's case determine whether criminal behavi has taken place, and then congress' place what did the russians do to interfere in our election? and what do we do in order to prevent that from happening in the next election? and frankly, so far we have not punished the russians for what we all know they tried to do, and that was to undermine the fundamental of democracy. so -- all of us that knew director mueller are very happy
he's there, and that relieves the congress and the executive branch from certain responsibilities, but we still have to move forward with the investigation of what the russians did, and how we can counter it and, frankly, all the briefings i've had, the russians have not reduced their hacking and their cyber activities which is a real threat to the security of the united states. as chairman of the armed services committee, i am telling you, they have put a lot of our capabilities in danger in this new cyber warfare arena. >> david ignatius? >> senator, you were one of the earliest and bravest critics to say there's something really wrong in this issue of trump, possible contacts with russia. president trump is still trying to make this a divisive political issue, saying, it's a personal attack on him. no one has ever been treated as unfairly. what can you do as a leading republican senator with your colleagues to prevent this from
being as bitterly polarizing as it seems the president would like to make it? >> david, first of all, i have been worst treated than president trump has. so let's make sure that the viewers know about that. the point is -- the point is -- seriously, we have to, in my view, have this select committee. there are different committees in the house and the senate. different jurisdictions, i have great confidence in our intelligence community, richard burke and mark warner, but i think it has reached the size and scope what i was trying to say, that it requires a select committee. it is far different from watergate in many, many ways. as you know, watergate started with a break-in. this thing started in a far different fashion. >> and until that select committee is created, i assume you're going to keep speaking out to your fellow republicans saying it's not appropriate to be criticizing this process?
>> well, i -- no. but i also think that, for example, we have not reacted yet to what happened last november when the russians tried to interfere with our election. it changed the outcome of our election, which there is no evidence that theysucceeded, but still the attempt should spark reaction on our side including increased sanctions and other actions we could take. at least pay a price for a platant attempt to undermine our democracy and our w of life. >>eremy peters? >> good morning, senator. >> good morning. >> so you bring up the question of the, having parallel investigations here. so as congress is supposed to be moving along on issues from tax reform and infrastructure, health care, it's going to be incredibly bogged down by this special investigation into the activities of the trump
campaign. is there a growing concern that congress cannot do both things at once, and that the policy is on the verge of becoming overwhelmed by the politics here? >> i don't think so. we are continuing to meet almost daily on reform -- replacing obamacare. we are moving forward with our hearings on armed services as far as the defense is concerned. what i worry more than anything else is that we're facing in september another one of these edge of the cliff government shutdown, then we pass a massive trillion dollar bill that nobody has seen or read with no amendments. what i worry about is that we do not have a process. joe, in your day, back there in the coolidge administration, we used to take up an operations bill, about a week, and pass it, send it over, and a normal
process. we've got to return to a normal process, and, frankly, i don't blame that on this scandal. i blame it on a broken process here in the congress of the united states. >> silent cal always insisted on a private orpder, you would expect that from a new englander like coolidge. i'm actually thinking about this, last night, how great it could be, john man, if the investigation started, they moved it to the side, instead of donald trump trying to move everything through as quickly as you make a big mac in a drive-thru, regular order. tell ryan and tell mcconnell you would like both sides to start doing, going to committees, on tax reform. the senate, starting to go to committee on health care reform. stop this nonsense of talking to three people, and fringe elements of your party, and getting together a bill that
gets, you know, 217 votes. >> yeah. i can't really -- the concept of regular order and the trump presidency don't really seem to go together. >> no. he's not tweeting again, is he? >> he is tweeting again. >> senator -- >> are you kidding me? >> john heilemann here. last night, after mueller was appointed, you had the white house put out a statement. president trump put out a statement that was, out this morning, relatively normal. the kind of thing a president would normally say. he said he looked forward to including the mat -- concluding the matter quickly. accepted the notion mueller was appointed so forth. a few minutes ago president trump tweeted this. this is the single greatest witch-hunt of a politician in american history. so it sounds to me, from the basis of that, it looks like president trump may want to go to war with robert mueller, and i'm curious what you think will happen if that is the case? >> i think that's a non-starter. robert mueller is, has a reputation going back to service in the vietnam conflict, and i
know of no one who doesn't have the highest regard for robert mueller. so i think that, that would be a non-starter. by the way, just on the subject we were on before. also the democrats keep slow walking all of these nominees, taking the maximum amount of time out of our day and week in approving them. so there's a problem there with democrats not being able to get over the election. >> speaking of nominees, senator sam stein here. rumors are flying that one of your good friends, senator joe lieberman, is in consideration for fbi director. now, curious what your position is on his potential nomination, but do you recognize the concern some people do have about having a politician -- i know the senator's not in congress now, but he was -- a politician in that post at this period of time? >> well, there's politicians and there's politicians, and joe lieberman is not only respected and admired but beloved by all of us on both sides of the
aisle. i know of no one who people had genuine affection for the way that they have for joe lieberman. ask any of your guests, no matter who comes on. i think the tst and confidence at he would have here, particularly in the united states senate, is remarkable, and i really hope that the president -- i hope i don't nix his chances here, but i hope that the president would select joe. he's -- in many aspects, he's the finest man i've ever known. >> well, i mean -- other than me, senator mccain. >> right. >> other than you, joe. >> oh, my god. okay. >> other than the time he told barnicle he wishes i'd been chained when the boat went down in the middle of pensacola bay. other than that -- >> a great service to humanity. >> well, speaking of a great service of humanity, i'm serious
here, and i'd say we're not spoetzed to do this, but this is what we do. thank you so much for your service to america, and i, for one. >> honesty. >> i for one, despite the hell you went through when you served this country, and were a prisoner of war and served honorably and refused to go home when -- when people tried to pull favors for you, but you wouldn't leave any of your men behind. despite the extraordinary courage and honor and valor you showed then, there are many of us who believe the service you were doing to america, for america, right now, is every bit as vital or perhaps remarkably enough even more vital. thank you for your honesty and thank you for your strength at a time when this republic needs it the most. >> i thank you, and mika, it's not too late. >> exactly. >> senator john mccain, this is why we love you. still ahead --
the markets, turning to washington. they're going to try to get back on track this morning. we're going to try to get this show back on track. >> somehow. >> in jt a little bit. see, that's why i love him. such a son of a bitch, compliment him and he comes back with a wisecrack. >> that's a great guy. >> sort of a mockish, suck-uppy tribute and he slapped you. came right back. >> that's actually -- >> clever. >> that's why we love the guy. also ahead, nbc's andrea mitchell and msnbc's chris matthews join the table on the house oversight committee. congressman elijah cummings on the appointment of robert mueller counsel in the investigation. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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credentials a storied history, ten years leading the fbi in both the bush and the obama administration. it couldn't be a better choice at the latter part of his career, nothing to prove. i think he'll do a fabulous job. >> chairman of the house oversight committee, congressman jason chaffetz speaking out on the "today" show today on the appointment of robert mueller as special counsel into the russian probe. now from capitol hill, the ranking member of that committee democratic congressman elijah cummings of maryland. elijah, we have been talking for some time about republicans not showing a lot of courage. i don't know if rod was a republican or appointed yesterday by a reblican he made a courageous choice in a changes the arc of this entire investigation. what's your response? >> i was very pleased with what rod rubenstein did. i've known him well over ten years. keep in mind, he was our u.s. attorney in baltimore.
so i've had a lot of dealings with him, and i knew him, and i've always known him, to be an honorable man. as a matter of fact, i count him as someone that i would put in the league with a mueller. and keep in mind, even when president obama came into office, he continued to keep them in the u.s. attorneys office for the entire eight years, that president obama was president. so he enjoys a very favorable reputation in our state, and i just had a feeling that he would do the right thing. i was kind of surprised when that initial letter came out. as a matter of fact, i was shocked, but i think he did the right thing. i have a lot of respect for counsel mueller. i think it was a good choice. when i first heard it yesterday, you know, i just had a feeling that, you know, i think we can
now move forward, and i feel good about it. >> david ignatius is here and has a question. david? >> i want to ask you, congressman, if memory serves, you were one of the first people who raised the issue of michael flynn's contacts as a representative of turkey, and turkish interests in a letter that you wrote back in november. >> right. >> and i wanted to ask you whether you think that letter in some way triggered this, what we now know is an investigation that was underway as early as january, before flynn actually took his job as national security adviser, and what you know based on your own personal involvement in this investigation, really, as i say, from the very beginning? >> yeah. i -- i don't know -- i'm not sure that the role that the letter played, but we were -- i sent a very lengthy letter, and i heard your all's discussion, by the way, earlier, with regard to vice president pence. i sent them a very lengthy letter warning them of --
>> in november. >> this s in november. in november. and -- so i do think -- and basically, when i asked him about it later on, he said that, you know, he just had a fog and doesn'tting it, and i was kind of surprised by that. this was like a red-flag letter. you know, this guy is not the right guy to hire. and so -- you know, i don't know. but i'll tell you what does, the thing that i do find very interesting, is how he had told people in the white house about the fact that he was being investigated. i mean, come on now. at some point you say, duh. >> come on now! >> i mean, this is not -- this is not rocket scientist some.
somebody should say, wait a minute. red flag to at least check out all of this. i think you all said it best. i think what happened, i think the president and somebody who had come to him, he had that kind of experience with regard to formulations, things of that nature. he was a friend, and so he came up and said he was loyal, so he wanted him onboard. but, you know, one of the things we need to do in our committee, government reform and oversight, we've got to begin to -- we need to look at the vetting process, and how it takes place. in new administrations. whether they're democratic or republican. and i'm hoping that chairman chaffetz and i can work together to get some things done. the other question that has come up over and over again, is monitoring. do the committees take a back seat? i would hope, and this is my guess, that counsel mueller will come forward and have discussions with all of us.
the various ranking members and chairman of the various committeds in the house and senate, and make sure that we don't step on his investigation. that's number one, and then we need to look, and i -- i agree with senator mccain. we have really got to remember how this thing all started. with started with us being told that 17 of our intelligence agencies all agree that there had been interference with our elections. we got to make sure that doesn't happen again. that's where the congress may come in and play a very significant role. >> all right. congressman elijah cummings, as always, love having you on. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. and the quote that comes from this interview -- come on! come on! sounds like my dad. come on, man. come on. let's bring out the host of nbc's "hardball" chris matthews. you and the entire primetime lineup, number one, with a
bullet. you guys are like peter frampton in 1976. it's impressi, man. it's impressive. >> not quite as your inteiew with john mccain, but i'll take it. general macarthur, thanking the troops. >> you take your confidants where you can get them, my friend. >> yes. i got one. >> chris, so much to talk about right now. i want to talk to you about mueller, but i feel like we really need to start first with flynn. and what we just saw there again. a november warning to mike pence, don't hire this guy. he's conflicted. he's getting money. he's working for turkey. one warning after another. warning to kushner, warning to bannon, warning to priebus, warning to trump. nonstop warnings, don't hire this guy. they didn't listen. >> well people were given a lot of warnings about trump, the
american people, and they hired him. people make decisions on a grand reason. loyalty there. you know that works with trump. loyalty. i'm amazed that -- i think in certain lives, creative people in show business, for example, you can create the world around you and live in it. >> right. >> woody allen, said what did reality ever do for me? the presidency is not one of those positions. you can't create your own world. you live in a world of facts. facts. >> donald trump created his own world, on fifth avenue, in his corner office where he -- >> trump tower. >> where he lived and worked for, what, 45 years. and he was in a cocoon, of his own creation. and we see this with so many white houses. they go in, and they think that, just won the big election, and they're going to change the rules of washington, but we do have a constitution, which always balances things out. >> i think that's true and a couple things. trump first of all probably doesn't care about our primetime
lineup on msnbc or critics of any kind. the resistance is all part of fodder for him. he likes the proposition. e had lives in a world of opposition and division. he's very comfortable in it. what he doesn't like, a world of facts, front page newspapers with "new york times" and "washington post," hates facts. because it's up against him and public servants that stand against him. we have a prize in mr. mueller, mr. robert mueller, a prize, combat veteran, broz star, purple heart, went into the big cities and went after street bad guys. killers. he's quite a top prosecutor and i bet on him. very tough. you can't call him lyin' ted or crooked hillary. looks like he just started a few minutes ago with that witch-hunt thing. trump's not a witch. he's trump. i think he's going to have to take on the facts now, and this guy looks to me, going to go point by point and take his
time. by the way, how can trump cut off his resources? he's already got 20 special agents working with the fbi. friends with comey. and friends with rosenstein. >> says he can't cut off the -- i think it's already funded. >> can't fire, reassign a guy. >> just good lk with that. at that, even republicans would move towards impeachment. that's not a possibility. stay with us, chris. we'll be right back. still ahead, white house aides tell our next guest, just how exhausting it is to work for donald trump, saying, "the moment it gets quiet is when the next crisis happens." "time" magazines michael shear is here with new reporting and a provocative any cover, we'll show you, coming up next.
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and trump demands for loyalty, behavior testing the institutions of the people in the government. what's your conclusion? >> on how -- >> on how our institutions are holding up? >> it's been a good week. every time trump decides what he can do what he's done outside his whole career, color outside the lines and bully people, various institutions, the press, law enforcement, agencies, congress responds and steps up. what chris said. reality imposes itself here and the story of the first two months, through months now, of the presidency has been one of someone who is not used to operating with these sort of restrictions, learning how to operate with these restrictions. >> right. and the system, chris, has been checked time and time again. and the system has proven itself to be resilient. the executive orders the first week. federal judges said, no. i know a lot of people are talking about, we've even talked
about sort of picking your judge. well, just look what happened this past week when the supreme court decided they were not going to overturn a decision that ended voter i.d. laws in north carolina. federal judges are lined up against him. the intel agencies are doing their job. even congress pushes back on the first big health care vote. >> yeah. i don't think comey can quite understand what it means to be a donald trump. huge ego and huge success, nor can trump understand comey. a guy who works for a modest salary, serves his country. day after day shows up for work, prosecutes the cases. he doesn't understand straight hours and just met the biggest straight hourer of his life in robert mueller. >> he thinks they're suckers. what happens when you cross a straight arrow who's tough, you get rod rosenstein staring you down saying i'm not going to be your sucker. in fact, you just stepped into something. >> i think he embarrassed him and he said, okay. i'm me. and i have pride and i have
honor, integrity, you're not going to make a fool out of me and came back pretty strong. >> andrea, the systems have seemed to work very well. we still, though, have, it seems to me, a shock a day. and thecenes of erdogan's thugs beating up protestors in washington, d.c., really shocking. >> well, i was working ining on story yesterday as you know. shocking first of all to see erdogan in the oval office. i'm honored to meet mr. erdogan, mispronouncing his name several times and not understanding why he has not been there in several years. because he is a thug. he has locked up 140 journalists in the last year alone. closed 200 media offices in the last year alone. he is now more dangerous than almost any place except mexico,
to be a journalist, to be a journalist in turkey. institutions are being destroyed in turkey. whether you're kurdish or armenian, dissidents. we are talking about scenes -- that is two blocks from former president obama's house. right near the kushners' house. rex tillerson is three blocks away. we're talking about sheridan circle. >> talking about the mean streets of -- doesn't usually happen over there, matthew. >> and quickly, what happened, i was told that when the new police chief says we are going to hold people accountable. we have bodycam footage. we know who these people are in the suits with lapel pins were on a plane out of andrews. they're gone. >> matthew, you wrote a great article a couple days ago. talking about how -- how conservatives, how republicans, how this country tries -- tries to come to terms with donald trump.
here we are two months in. what is the state of the conservative movement? what is the state of the republican party? when this chaos, as you -- as you point out from self-inflicted wounds, continues to churn daily? >> weirdly, the republican party may be healthier than the conservative movement. because the conservative movement has split in two and there are people who would defend donald trump whatever he does. in fact, invent rationalizations for some of his actions which are clearly just impulsive. >> so how -- this -- besides democrats say, this guy was a democrat until 2011. discovered birtherism. gave money to chuck schumer. why is it conservatives are willing to go over a cliff, and we'll get back to russia, for a guy that is revealing highly sensitive information to russia's foreign minister? our enemies? >> the key to understand, many conservatives knew trump someone
elected to implement an agenda. some call that trumpism. tough on the border, tough on trade. stay out of the middle east, and create a free market inside the united states. deregulation, tax cuts. repeal obamacare. they want him to do that agenda. the problem with these kind of self-manufactured crises, that agenda, off the calendar. and the truth is, one thing that many people new to washington don't understand, once you're put into office you really only have about a year to get your agenda. >> fox news is reporting breaking news. this morning. that roger ailes has died. we don have a lot of details about this. trudge broke it. not so long ago. but roger ailes dead at the age of 77. chris matthews, i said several years ago in an interview about ailes, and i say it still nap if you want to look at the two people that impacted american
culture and politics, over the past 20 years, you would look at steve jobs, and roger ailes. >> yeah. i was going -- this always happens. i was going to call him the other day. going through -- he's done bad things. been through bad things, but he got me started in cable television back when he was running c nbc and "america's talking." i met him. an amazing thing. i think the reason he succeeded with fox in the beginning he's the kind of guy that would watch fox. like sports fans. they root for the team because they love it. he rooted for his network because that's what he wanted to watch and i think that was his strength, like it or not. >> chris and i first met roger ailes. i was right out of school, 1968 in philadelphia. he was the producer of "the mike douglas show" in the same building where the nbc affiliate was. i would see him all the time. after that is when he first hooked up with richard nixon and did that '72 campaign.
and he was dynamic, and -- i mean, you're absolutely right. when you think as you do off the top of your head, your gut is so right about steve jobs, roger ailes. he transformed american politics and american media. >> he was also, you two know this, because you've known him a very long time, regardless of -- of the dark sides of his character, i can tell you, and i'm sure you have stories, fiercely loyal. roger ailes was fiercely loyal, and would fight for you even if you didn't -- in the worst company, he certainly was to both mika and me, and tough and fierce. we didn't even work for him. but -- but, also -- >> you know it started -- the nixon thing. excuse me. joe, but in 1968, the song by joe mcginniss, fabulous book.
celebrated ailes. ailes is the guy nixon found. he said television is not a gimmick. television is real. you've grot ot to learn it. nixon, oh, this guy's got something. >> and town hall meetings for nixon, completely manufactured. >> right. >> and getting into that territory, that stuff -- >> matthew, we've heard, of course, an awful lot about the bad side of rogers ailes. one of the first things i read about him, before i knew him, doing "america's talking" and working at what would become this network eventually, roger ailes was the guy that after the show was over wouldn't go up to the hosts and pat them on the back and say, you're doing okay. he'd go up to the cameramen and say, thank you. go to the makeup room. say, thank you all, so much. he would talk to the janitors walking -- thank you. you're doing a great job. roger ailes, again, you said he's the guy who would watch fox news, but at least in all of the stories i heard about him certainly in those early days,
those were the people that he talked to, and thanked. >> usually his criticism was reserved tore people network stars or presidents of the united states. right? talking about someone who basically defined conservatism in the post-reagan era more than anyone else through the creation of fox news. someone who helped the rise of donald trump by making donald trump associated with fox news channel giving him a new platform to reach a new audience and introducing him to the populist conservatism of fox. a major historical figure who's downfall came quickly and now he's departed. >> unbelievable, a year ago, michael, this guy was, i would say, easily the most powerful man in republican politics. the most powerful man in conservative politics and certainly last of the dies breed, tell his network where to go and they would go. it is ironic, though, that donald trump caused him fits and caused fox news fits and trump would complain that ailes wasn't
always as good to him as he should have been. especially that first fox news debate tlrchl debate. >> there is sort of a passing of the torch. no one changed politics more with single media than ailes. took television to the first political space first in the '60s and '70s. with fox news transforming the republican party. i think trump stole his populism and he wasn't sure what to do with it, because trump was breaking rules he had said and had to figure out to maneuver through that and now, you know, there is this new -- i mean, we communicate with trump through twitter. technologies continue to change politics and ailes was not a social media guy. he was a television guy. there is a sort of passing of the torch. >> it's a great thing about robert frost and "take the road less traveled by," it works. he's guy saw the liberal media, liberal primetime, very pro-choice, pro gate rights, wait a minute.
a.m. radio is still conservative, but movies are liberal. he goes you know what? i see all the three major broadcast networks and think they're either moderate, liberal, or more liberal in the middle. i have an option. i'm going conservative. where nobody else is going. >> i remember my chief in staff in congress at the same. dave stafford, 1996 i think it was. we were talking to each other and said, can you imagine what would happen if somebody started a conservative network? and we didn't have to watch the same story being -- >> yeah, yeah. looking down the end of their noses at us hand all the other -- ailes came up with a big idea. murdoch bought it, and it changed everything. >> the rest is history. we should point out his downfall was because of personal failures, and the fact there was such a culture of illegality. the abuse at fox that was not
restricted to ailes. it was pandemic, according to all accounts and the money paid out and still face a lot of liability because the payments were not properly labeled in share holder reports. that corporation is being remade by the sons now, and it's being remade after the fact. >> you look at roger ailes' life and you look at all of his successes, and i'm reminded of joe paterno. a man that ameri loved and respected, and lookedp to for years, and i know certainlyot all of america loved roger ailes. he was a very divisive figure, but i can tell you, conservatives were thankful for him. republicans were grateful for what he started up. and just like paterno, what, four, five years later, people are now starting to try to balance it. but there is -- there is no doubt and we just have to say
this. it's right now fox news is an absolute mess. we talked about this earlier in passing. roger ailes gone for, what, maybe six months, a year, and for first time this century, they aren't in first place. in fact, for the first time this century, they are in third place. >> rachel beats them every night. it's -- i do think a lot of our viewership is rationale, as you know, joe, it's rationale. people want to watch something that makes them happy. the markets going up cnbc is dynamite, the liberals are winning the liberals are progressive. conservative side winning they're watching. >> why are people watching this network. i said when alabama wins a national championship, i turn on sports center and i let it run in a loop all day. . conservatives don't have a lot to look at on fox. >> that's true. >> one of the things in entertainment also, institutions request a personality in cases
of their boss. newspapers you know the editors of the newspapers and what they're running and why they're running it and the personality of that person running the newspaper comes through every day to the reader. the readers get to know that person. when ailes leaves fox news it's not clear what the personality and voice of fox news is. >> bradley when he left "the washington post" you knew he was gone. >> the whole voice changed. >> michael dukakis said one thing, the fish rises to the top. i never blame staffers. i go to the top. >> read the statement from roger's wife. she posted this on drudge, i am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, roger ailes passed away this morning. roger was a loving husband to me, his son zachary, and a loyal friend to many and he was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise, and to give back.
during a career that stretched over more than five decades his work in entertainment, politics affected the lives of so many millions. and so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life. matthew, talk about -- talk about growing up in a culture where fox news actually was -- was the republican party. it was the conservative movement. roger ailes would decide in the morning meetings what the message would be at fox news and you would hear candidates on the stump basically parroting that across the country for the next day. >> well, ailes created such an important institution of the republican party and conservative movement that many young conservatives, myself included, looked at appearing on fox regularly as part of the bucket list to tick off. that was an aspiration, you wanted to do something like that. it goes to michael's point about
this era of transition. that i don't think it really has any network for that matter, really has the same impact. the younger journalists want twitter. they wanted their own personal brands. so you've had this deinstitutionalization across politics and media and we're in place where you talk about the voice of the top nowt'sald trump on twitter. that's the mos important voice for the republican party right now. >> andoger ailes, along those lines, roger ailes would grouse about bill o'reilly.com and all the things that bill o'reilly sold on his show and then he would grouse privately and sometimes publicly about bill o'reilly the author. he's an author who just happens to have a tv show. he was -- he was a -- i thought it was very ironic at msnbc phil griffin, he is -- phil is a lay za fair sort of libertarian when it comes to management. you do your thing, build your show, do whatever.
sort of hands off, he knows what moves to make and when to make it and he's been here, god, for they said almost since the beginning, whereas roger ailes the conservative, top down, completely opposite. it all started and ended with ailes. the messaging, the people that were on the show, and on negative side for a lot of people right now the culture. >> one of the most remarkable things about roger ailes was he was a shrewd political brain and he took that brain and applied it to media in a way no one had ever done before. he understood in order to undermine us the mainstream media you needed to do it from the inside and that's what he did. he was like -- fox news was like a trojan horse inside the media with this clever inversion of the phrase "fair and balanced" told its viewers that it was the true source of objectivity and fact and tried to make us all ok like were the biased
losers. >> why don't we talk about also -- >> you didn't believe that, did you? >> a lot of people did. that was the point. >> i got to know him, chris, was so many people are glib. they'll have a certain pose. roger ailes believed what he said. he believed what fox was doing. he was a conservative in a bunker, like a nixon 1974. he believed the whole world was out to get him. and he -- you know, he fought every day. >> well, i had an interesting conversation about mario cuomo and nixon and people like that. he had people -- he was looking at the temperament of these guys not just their ideology and he was pretty straight about knowing who was a little loony and who wasn't like nixon and he saw through the reality, i thought. he was an angry guy and anger has a lot to do with journalism. people have an edge and they want to get the rich people or
the other side of the political spectrum, drives the hard work of journalism in many cases and he had a big chunk attitude. >> let's talk about, for instance, nbc, he wanted to work at nbc. he wanted to run this network, this network back in the mid-90s wouldn't let him. he was a conservative. they wanted no part of him. he -- >> he left angry. >> yeah. he just -- he didn't fit the corporate model of nbc at the time, so he left pissed off and beat the hell out of nbc's creation for the next 20 years. >> the interesting thing he went out andd subscribers i don't know how the cable business works, but paid subscribers $10 apiece, got rudy giuliani to give him access to new york city and gave him that available local channel, you had to get new york to get into the business. he did all the things technically you had to do to launch a network and he did it. and then -- >> a couple years, michael,
cable providers had no choice but to carry fox news. because they would get angry phone calls every day from people, why don't we have fox news on our cable and a little secret here, a vast majority of the money that cable companies make, they make from subscription fees. >> from subfees. >> one of the interesting things we're describing here, how he broke the rules to remake politics the country, the business, the media, he also broke other rules. a real dark side here, and it's the same spirit. i mean the way he treated other people was morally repugnant. the way he tried to cut corners, i mean even the way he bullied journalists covering fox was morally repugnant, but it was -- it all came as a piece. you couldn't separate the sort of -- i want to cause trouble here and do it my way and remake the world. >> again, going back to steve jobs, now certainly not talking about steve jobs having any hr problems but you heard one
horror story after another horror story after another about how jobs was a terrible human being to work with at times. >>yeah. >> and yet he transformed, transformed our life and culture. >> he thrived as you guys were pointing out on a sense of grievance and persecution and au straization by the main stream, by the establishment and who does that sound like. our president. it's no coincidence that roger ailes an adviser to almost every single republican president since nixon saw eye to eye with donald trump and one of my favorite stories from the campaign is, roger ailes doing debate prep with donald trump and the two of them being unable to get to the task at hand because they just spent the whole time talking about each other's problems. >> telling stories. >> trump is the one republican president since knicksen who didn't listen to roger ailes. >> yeah. >> pretty remarkable. with us on the phone national affairs editor at "new york" magazine gabe sherman author of "the loudest voice in the room
how the brilliant roger ailes built fox news and divided a country." you've been following this guy for a very long time. what are your thoughts this morning on the legacy he leaves, both good and bad? >> well, i mean, my immediate thought is it's a tragic sad morning. the passing of anyone and especially someone with the influence of ailes is a big moment for our country. you know, it's a tragic morning because roger ailes, after all he built and his career, you know, for all practical purposes, he died alone. he was in the last months living in exile in palm beach, had sor of reclused himself, cut himself off most of his friends, was not in touch with trump in the big republican power broker he used to be and ends the last chapter of his life. so, you know, that's a tragic story whatever you think of ailes' politics, as a human story i find that sad. to the larger question, joe, of his legacy, i mean i think you can't separate out the political
moment we're in from roger ailes' life work. he revolutionized politics, turned it into entertainment, and fox news sort of tilled the ground and made donald trump's candidacy possible so a candidate with reality tv values would be accepted by the republican base. and so, again, i think whatever you think of roger ailes as a person, he was the subject of, you know, dozens of sexual harassment allegations which he denied but we should point that out, his consequence impact on america remarkable. >> go ahead. are you there, gabe? >> yeah. i'm sorry. >> oh, i just said, you know, i think he transformed american life. and we are going to be, you know, living with his legacy for years and decades to come. >> yeah. very interesting point. very interesting time in roger ailes' career at fox news. this was a guy that went 100 miles an hour,